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CAF Hosts International Exercise ARDENT DEFENDER


Image: A member of a Canadian Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team operates a bomb disposal robot to be used in the controlled detonation of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) during Exercise ARDENT DEFENDER Credit: LS Zachariah Stopa, MARPAC Imaging Services

Approximately 180 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members hosted nearly 150 members from partner nations for Exercise ARDENT DEFENDER, an international counter explosive exercise held at 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick, from October 20 to November 2, 2023.

The exercise leveraged lessons learned from the contemporary operating environment, particularly in Eastern Europe, where the threat from explosive ordinances, both improvised and conventional, has resurfaced and evolved in recent years. It also served as an opportunity for the CAF to confirm and consolidate individual and collective skills in countering explosive threats.

Personnel from partner nations, including Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States, participated alongside counter-explosives experts from across the CAF and scientists from Defence Research and Development Canada. This year’s exercise aimed to build a cohesive understanding of current explosive threats, and the means to exploit and counter them. Explosive threats, both improvised and conventional, remain a constant threat in the face of new and emerging forms of warfare.

“Operating in a world that is divided along multiple fault lines reinforces the importance of allies and partners. Taking the opportunity to come together, share lessons learned, and understand each other better enables us to face potential adversary threats in the future.” Lieutenant-General Jocelyn (Joe) Paul, Commander Canadian Army

“The ability to pull lessons from the battlefield and inject them into our training as quickly as practicable helps the Canadian Army build a strong, relevant capability for Canadian Armed Forces operations.” Brigadier-General Stéphane Masson, Commander 5th Canadian Division



• This is the 10th iteration of Exercise ARDENT DEFENDER, which is normally held in Canada on an annual basis at a different location across the country.

• Responsible for the planning, coordination, and execution of the Canadian iteration of Ex ARDENT DEFENDER, the Canadian Armed Forces Joint Counter Explosive Threat organization is the authority for enabling and synchronizing actions to counter-explosive threats on behalf of the CAF.

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